An Epic 70th Birthday, and Camp Gigi Part One

It’s back! My birthday, the summer solstice, the first warm day in the PNW; and, after a hiatus last summer—following the epic eight-month Pandemic School—Camp Gigi is back on the schedule.

Last summer, in a fit of selfish self-care, I declared camps for the foreseeable future to be single boy only. The Littles were not enthusiastic about solo Camp Gigi, and it didn’t happen. Now they have moved to a new house with bedrooms of their own and have discovered the virtues of solitude and individuality. Or maybe it has nothing to do with that. Whatever. Adrian, at least, is very enthusiastic about his very own camp. And wants to be first. Of course.

But that’s coming the next two months. This week I spent the two days following my birthday in Seattle with them while one mom worked at her actual office away from home, and the other cleaned out her first grade classroom and went to teacher meetings.

Seven balloons and birthday greetings (fashioned backward on the window) met me on arrival.

Day one we went on a fun playground tour and got Dick’s burgers followed by frozen yogurt and gummy worms and such (blech). Day two was grumpy, and the zoo plan didn’t happen.

The deal was, if Gigi crossed the monkey bar thing, the Littles would. Gigi did, the Littles did not. (It was scarier that I expected.)
Weeks spent in a recently removed cast after a playground incident, did not slow Adrian down.
Many timed obstacle course challenges.
Not your Gigi’s (1970s) University Village.
There also might have been a fort.

But before that, I had the best birthday party ever, and a (mis-) adventurous day with my sister. We were going to go to the rhododendron garden, via the backroads. Both us and Siri were directionally challenged. And, as it turned out, the garden is closed on Mondays. (We did discover that before going all the way.) We went to Flaming Geyser State Park instead, where we were going to meet the Littles and moms, because the Littles both thought I would want to go on a hike for my birthday. They had to cancel, but just being known by them was gift enough! There was no flaming geyser on my birthday, and we spent twenty or thirty times longer on the road than in the park, but the sister day for our birthdays was perfect.

The old St. Peter’s Hospital. Now an apartment building, “Seniors welcome.”

We ended with dinner—in the sun!—on the dock of Olympia’s Budd Bay, and a visit to the former hospital where we were born . . . oh so many years ago.

But, back to the party! My friend Bonnie Rae organized a letter shower, and friends from all over sent letters; not just cards, but letters! She even pulled off cards from my favorite author Jodi Picoult and bloggers/authors Heather Lende and Karen Maezen Miller! What the heck! And my sister snuck to the house while I was away and found unremembered slides and made a video for Facebook that is stunning (with technical assistance from best niece Emma). And she had a plaque made from an iconic slide my mom took of my sisters and me and our dad at Mt. Rainier. And party-goers and family gave me REI gift cards and I have ordered some new gear so I can expand my camping options.

It has been a smashing good week, with lots of tears, to kick off my epic Summer of 70. Thank you to Rebecca. You pulled it all off in spectacular fashion, with help from Emma, Jo Ann, Suzee, Christina, Vickie, and Bonnie Rae. And all of you.

Thank you, dear readers, friends, and family for being in my life. Cheers to the eighth decade!

6 thoughts on “An Epic 70th Birthday, and Camp Gigi Part One

  1. What a wonderful celebration and such an enthusiastic response by those who love you! (And that sister of yours can sure throw a party!) Those of us inching up behind you in age should be taking notes. I know I am. Some people retire to the couch when they hit 70. You, my dear friend, are just getting started. 70 is the new 50! You go girl! So happy I got to help you celebrate 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really do feel like I’m just getting started. Rebecca and Sue are the queens of party. And they are throwing my launch party! Which now has a date I will announce for Save the Date soon.


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